Drew Becker on His Journey From Seeing Tootsie on Broadway to Leading the National Tour

Drew Becker as Michael Dorsey

When performance venues closed abruptly in 2020, Drew Becker faced the challenge many actors faced as the cruise he was currently performing on had to take an extended intermission.  But he wasn’t idle for long.    

Over the next year, he kept being called back to audition for Tootsie more.

“I was in the ensemble and covering the lead in a musical called We Will Rock You on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, and then the pandemic hit,” Becker recalls. He went right to work submitting audition self-tapes to line up a gig for whenever theatre might resume. “When I saw that [the Tootsie tour was] looking for people and that they were accepting submissions, I was like, ‘Well, why not? You know, it sounds like it would be a fun thing to do after [theatres reopen]!’” 

Drew Becker

“It was intense, but I’ll tell you what, it gave me a lot to do over the course of the pandemic, you know? The further we got into the process, the more excited I got!”

After being cast, he found out the experience would be much more hands-on than he had expected, with the creative team coming in to update the piece.

“We’ve had a lot of rewrites that we did in the room rehearsing for the national tour version,” he says. “Nine times out of ten with these types of things, the show that goes out on tour is the show that happened on Broadway, but we also are dealing with some sensitive subject matter. And there are things that we want to be aware of with having a man in a dress be at the center of the story. So we’ve worked with GLAAD, a trans organization, on how to be sensitive to those topics. And I think that that’s incredible of the writers, wanting to continue to listen and to continue to adapt our story to keep up with the current social climate that we’re in today.”

The cast of the National Tour of Tootsie

Becker says that throughout the experience, the creative team also consistently collaborated with the actors to form the new version together to fit not only this time and place, but the people too. 

“I’m so lucky because the creative team has really allowed me to come into rehearsal and really make this my own,” shares the actor. “What was so nice was that none of the creatives would even talk about what they did before. It was all picking our brains about moments within the scenes, about certain pieces of dialogue that we had.”

The team in the rehearsal room included tour director Dave Solomon, book writer Robert Horn, and choreographer Dennis Jones, with songwriter David Yazbek sending in newly revised music remotely.

“We were getting new pages all the time! [The creative team], myself, and Ashley Alexandra [who plays Julie] have talked so many times about the end of our show,” Becker explains. “And we’ve changed it so many times too, to find what the period is on the end of the story. And how do we do that with us? What is the period on this story with Drew and Ashley playing these characters instead of Santino [Fontana] and Lilli [Cooper] playing these characters?”

The team’s collaborative posture really capped off this experience in Becker’s mind.

“That’s just been the biggest blessing, having a creative team that supports your ideas and has been nothing but 100% open to hearing everything that we have to say,” he continues. “I’ve been having the absolute time of my life.”

The cast of the National Tour of Tootsie

Landing a lead in a major National Tour is a coup for any actor, but even moreso for Becker right now who shared that this is only his second professional role ever. His first was the aforementioned ensemble track on the cruise.

“It’s kind of crazy, I know!” he gushes. “This is a dream come true for me. I’m with a company of creatives and actors that are just the best kind of people to be around, and we get to do this incredible show, making people laugh all across the country after what has probably been a couple of darkish years with the pandemic and everything.”

To Becker, Tootsie is uniquely special in and of itself because it is a comedy.

“I feel incredibly fortunate that that is the type of show that we get to be a part of! I feel like there are very few musical comedies that are out on the road right now, traveling the country. And we are very lucky to be one of the few that get to spread laughter everywhere.”

Ultimately, he believes the laughter makes this a unifying musical that can not only be enjoyed by all kinds of people, but it can bring us together too.

“One thing that’s cool with our show is no matter what your background is, no matter your politics, your perspective on life, we can all gather into a theater and all laugh at the same joke and be united in that way. And I think that that’s really something special that we have going on with our story.”

Sally Henry Fuller is a theatre nerd, performing arts journalist, and podcaster in Atlanta. You can find more of her work on TheBroadwayGinger.com and find her in a local coffee shop.

This piece appears in the Fox Theatre’s Tootsie edition of Encore Atlanta. Snag your copy at performances of Tootsie and click the playbill below to take a peek inside!

Photo credits: Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade

About Sally Henry Fuller

A theatre aficionado with a passion for telling people's stories, Sally Henry Fuller is a performing arts journalist. She has had the privilege of interviewing both local theatre professionals and multi-award-winning celebrities including Carol Burnett, Matthew Morrison, Vanessa Williams, Josh Gad, and Taylor Hicks. With theatre journalism experience since 2011, her work has also been featured on BroadwayWorld.com, the Huffington Post, and the Kennedy Center's American College Theatre Festival.

View all posts by Sally Henry Fuller